Inside Man (2006) plot & ending explained: what happens?

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Among the old films that Netflix helped us rediscover in 2023, there is a classic Spike Lee, Inside Man, released in 2006, starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, and Willem Dafoe. The movie’s plot is interesting because it looks like a bank robbery where no money was stolen and no criminals were arrested. Let’s have the movie and the ending explained in this article.

You can watch the official trailer for Inside Man (2006) here on Youtube.

Inside Man (2006) plot & ending explained: what happens in the movie?

In the plot of the movie Inside Man, released in 2006, the criminal mastermind Dalton Russell explains to us, from the beginning, that he made the perfect bank robbery, but close to the movie’s ending, we discover that nothing was stolen, so we wonder how this can be explained. However, if you think about it, he’s right: no one has been arrested, all four criminals are there one week later, getting the loot they wanted, and there is no investigation around the robbery because – funnily – there is no actual crime, as no hostage has been killed and no money was stolen.

How could this happen? We understand that something weird happens in that bank when Mr. Case, the bank founder, hires Mrs. White, a professional who helps fix complicated situations. Mrs. White manages to get a privileged position in the negotiation, and in the middle of all this, Detective Frazier has to handle the negotiations at the bank. He’s clever, though: he soon understands that the robbers won’t kill anyone, and even the request for buses and planes are fake. They are just taking time, waiting for the right moment to act the way they want. And although this theory seems wrong when we see the criminals kill a hostage, we later discover that it was also staged.

What was the real target of Russell? The criminal wanted to steal the only that didn’t result in any of the bank records: the content of Mr. Case’s private security box, which consists of a consistent amount of valuable diamonds and a unique ring. When Mr. Case has explained the truth to Mrs. White at the ending of Inside Man, we also understand: he made his first money getting paid by the Nazis during World War II, becoming an accomplice. That ring is not only very precious, but it’s also proof of his criminal agreement during the war.

At the ending of Inside Man, we see Russell walking out of the bank, as he always promised, “when he was ready for it”: one week later, after hiding in a space prepared by himself inside the bank’s supply room. The same day, Detective Frazier opens Mr. Case’s security box in the bank and finds the ring, and a message by Russell: by following that ring, the detective will be able to incriminate Mr. Case.

Therefore, Russell seems to obtain everything he wants: he doesn’t get arrested, he has stolen precisely what he wanted (the diamonds), he’s now rich, and nobody is looking for him. Moreover, he will also have Mr. Case arrested for war crimes, which was also one of his strong motives. The last scene at the ending of Inside Man has explained how everything went exactly how he wanted: Frazier finds a diamond in his pocket and realizes that Russell was the one bumping into him at the bank, dropping the diamond on his jacket as a “friendly gift.” After all, they are both poor men who deserve more. And they both got richer after the events we saw.

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